THE Currajong Disability Services farm at Akuna Road is a hive of activity this week as the jujubes begin to get their leaves.
The farm, which also houses Currajong’s carob tree project, has already produced jujubes last season that were sold at the Sydney Markets and Currajong CEO Jeff Evans envisages it will be a distribution path that will be utilised again.
“When we pick in March/ April we will then explore all options for distribution including the markets,” he said.
“Last season we did quite well from sales down there.
“We know the market exists but now the challenge is to explore other avenues,” he said.
In 2016 Currajong Disability Services was offered five acres (2 ha) of land by Parkes Shire Council to use for dry farming.
It was decided that the land would be used to farm Chinese dates – also known as jujubes.
Jujubes are relatively new to Australia but the possibility of tapping into a growing market with a unique and increasingly popular product proved too good to ignore.
The jujube is one of the most important fruit crops in China and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and food for thousands of years. Cultivation records in China go back 3000 years for the jujube and it can also be found in neighbouring Asian countries.
Jujubes are extremely nutritious and are loaded with potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese as well as iron, sodium, zinc and copper. Additionally, the jujube is also a rich source of Vitamin C and B-complex. The Vitamin C content is higher than many other well-known fruits also known for high content such as oranges, making the jujube a healthy fruit with high antioxidant levels.
“Jujubes can be eaten fresh, dried or processed as ‘Chinese dates’,” said Jeff.
“They can be used in cakes, jam and breads as well.
“And they taste great!”
Since the beginning of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2017, service providers like Currajong
Disability Services (CDS) have had to find new ways to generate revenue.
“Our jujube farm is a key part of our future and success here at Currajong,” said Jeff.
“Hopefully it will also provide employment for our disability clients and benefits for all CDS stakeholders.”